Propaganda 2011 – an evolutionary year

In my 12 years at Propaganda, I never fail to be blown away by the quality of the work and thinking this agency produces. And for me, 2011 has pushed this on another level.

True, times are tough but times are also exciting. We are living through the biggest evolution of purchasing behaviour and communications any of us have ever seen. And the opportunities for the brands that respond well are vast.

How your customers (consumer or B2B) interact, choose and buy a product or service, and what they expect from your brand and business has changed irreversibly, driven by the explosion of digital technology and an economic climate that has redefined value. The question is how can a brand best capitalise in these changing conditions?

As an agency that has always championed evolution, we have found ourselves working at the heart of our clients’ businesses to help them change and adapt for the market conditions. And it’s led to a host of exciting projects, a selection of which I’ve shared below.


Illamasqua was Propaganda’s very own evolution – if we are good enough to develop successful global brands for our clients, then why don’t we launch our own? So we did and it’s currently the fastest growing make-up brand of all time. And what’s exciting is how we got there – with a focus on social media and digital communications that spread our brand story, built deep customer engagement and allowed us to trade internationally from the start. In July, we delivered a 120% uplift in our e-comm sales year on year. 2011 continues with our Leeds and Liverpool stores opening their doors in October and the launch of our first fragrance in November.

Seabrook Crisps

Seabrook has always been an innovative business. This year we’ve worked with them to develop a true market first – fully flavoured crisps with no added salt – meeting a growing consumer desire for a healthier diet and supporting the FSA drive to lower salt intake by 2012. And for an innovative product, we devised an innovative launch via a fully interactive, engaging digital campaign – designed to drive trial, increase interaction and collect consumer data. During the eight week campaign, website traffic increased by 1003%, promotion registrations of 41,000 were secured with an opt-in rate of over 50%, and we had over 24,000 voucher downloads to sample the product. Twitter followers grew by 70%, Facebook fans by 50% and, along with the opt-in email data, we have a sizable and engaged base ready for our ongoing contact strategy.

Propaganda Digital Intelligence™
Propaganda launched Digital Intelligence™ earlier this year. It’s an extension to our core consultancy offering and offers an antidote to the plethora of tactical digital agencies – promising the world and delivering little. Our belief is that digital cannot operate in a silo and is only effective when fully integrated into a business strategy. Kristal Ireland, Head of Digital at Propaganda summarises: “Ensuring your brand is communicated, protected and ultimately heard online is becoming an ever more business critical and complex process. Whether you talk to your customers via search, social, mobile, video content or via your company website, each channel needs to be considered as part of an integrated marketing strategy. At every consumer touch point it is imperative that the experience is in line with the brand’s ethos and values; in today’s environment a poor experience is easily communicated in real time to a potential audience of millions.” Kristal spoke on this and our experiences and insights at Future Forum “Death of the High Street?” held on the 8th September in London alongside Harvey Nichols and PwC Retail. A blog will be available at over the following week. Kristal is set to talk on the same subject at The National Internet Retailing Summit in Dublin later this month.

The Car People

One of our latest Digital Intelligence™ projects has been on behalf of The Car People – with the task of understanding how digital communications could best help them continue to deliver on their brand promise of “the hassle free way to buy a car” and capitalise on their already strong referral rates. The result is an integrated communications strategy that blends insight-led campaign messages with communications relevant to the communities local to each Car People showroom. Mixing on and off-line provides a much broader reach and allows the consumers themselves to choose how they want to be connected to the brand. No hassle, but lots of engagement.

Cambridge Weight Plan

For Propaganda, digital evolution isn’t just about communication strategies, it’s also about working with clients to evolve their business models and create entirely new revenue streams.

Whilst delivering a programme to help shape and position Cambridge Weight Plan‘s maintenance offer, Propaganda identified an opportunity to significantly enhance the way that the brand was delivered and experienced over time. Whilst no consumer likes the idea of being on a ‘diet for life’, they were very interested in ‘support for life’. Thus we developed My Cambridge – a digital way of accessing and interacting with the brand and your consultant. Coupled with online tools like a food diary, recipe suggestions and an opportunity to share your own recipes within the My Cambridge community – the platform provides all the motivation, advice and support exactly where and when consumers need it. 

What’s more, since this enhances (rather than replaces) the initial face-to-face support, it delivers long-term engagement with the brand and provides the consultants and CWP with a completely new revenue stream. My Cambridge launches this month.

Time to say thank you and goodbye
We’ve worked with Cloud Nine since 2008 with the brief of establishing them as the challenger brand to ghd, a feat more than 50 companies had tried and failed. With the brand now available in over 3000 of the UK’s top salons and in over 10 worldwide markets, it’s safe to say we’ve achieved this with fast and brutal efficiency. We have delivered on our brief and our work is now done.

Equally, with Kebelo System, we were commissioned to create from scratch a new salon based hair smoothing technology – from understanding the market opportunity to developing the product and creating a brand narrative that connected with salon owners. 12 months later they are trading in over 1000 UK salons in 5 international markets – in short, job done!

We are always hugely proud of brands and businesses that we have been fundamental in creating and we wish both companies the best for the future.

It doesn’t end there
For this blog, I’ve chosen a few of my highlights but this is only a tiny snapshot of the exciting projects underway in the agency. Long-term retained relationships continue to strengthen with clients like Clipper, who we have partnered through their evolution from logistics provider to a multi-channel retail logistics expert, now leading the debate on the future of high street retailing. Similarly we were delighted to celebrate Boost’s 10th year anniversary with the news of their continued year-on-year growth of 44%, making them the second largest brand in the impulse energy drinks category (source AC Nielsen). There’s also exciting new briefs from the likes of Dulux Trade and, most recently, Eternity who we are working with to define a business and brand strategy in the sports and leisure wear market.

In short, 2011 to date has been a busy, exhilarating and evolutionary year for Propaganda and knowing us, the remaining months of the year will be no different. We’ll keep you posted on all the latest news here – register for our regular blog updates.

Posted by Laura Kynaston, Managing Director